Overkill are a truly one of a kind thrash band this day and age. They’ve stayed true to their roots, yet evolved and warped, despite multiple line-up and label changes in their 30-plus year career. Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and DD Verni are the only remaining original members, but they are also the key to the trademark Overkill sound. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Overkill have never made a bad album, although some are better than others. I own them all, and I listen to them all. I’ve been there from the beginning, and I intend to be there until the end.
The Grinding Wheel is absolutely amazing! It contains the familiar galloping bass lines, piercing vocals, and riffs galore, but it takes another next step up from there. “Mean Green Killing Machine” opens the album up with a “Call to Arms!” This will be a live staple for years to come. It has all of the aforementioned elements, with a memorable shout-along chorus to boot. “Goddamn Trouble” is Overkill doing what they do best. It’s fast and furious. You can actually hear and feel the snarl and clenched teeth in the background vocals. Blitz’s vocals are fucking amazing! His ability to sing like that all these years is unfounded. “Our Finest Hour” is another uptempo ass-kicker. I love that you can hear the bass guitar galloping through the mix here and throughout the entire album. “Shine On” slows it up a bit and focuses more on sharp, heavy riffs. It has a thrashy, Black Sabbath feel to it. “The Long Road” brings back that classic, darker Overkill feel. The guitar work by Derek Tailer and Dave Linsk is nothing short of amazing! “Let’s All Go To Hades” is an Overkill party song, like only they can do it, and you will be singing this one weeks later. “Come Heavy” is my current favorite, and it’s slower, heavier and grinds the senses right out of you. The lyrics and hooks are memorable, yet not cheesy. “Red, White and Blue” picks the pace back up and the song beats the senses right out of you. “The Wheel” has a darker, more serious tone. It really sums up what thrash really should sound like. The title track takes you out of the album in epic proportions. It’s dark, heavy, and the riffs are pummeling, and it builds to a magnificent chorus with Blitz hitting notes that he hasn’t hit in years!
The Grinding Wheel is the most consistent album Overkill have put out in years. Every song is killer here, and there is no filler bullshit. Overkill prove that they are among the best thrash bands ever and will continue to carry that title forever!
The Grinding Wheel is out February 10 on Nuclear Blast Records. Buy it here!